Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our interpreter, Bhen, was an extraordinary young man. He was thirty three, married with two children. He is studying to be a preacher. In fact he was to preach on Sunday at the Lifeline church. We would be attending. He helped us as we met with the sponsored children. Wanda and her school children sponsor Tamara by sending her thirty dollars a month and sending her toys, clothes, school supplies and food.

Meeting Tamara and her sister, Johanne, was one of the highlights of the trip. What a beautiful teenager Johanne is. Her ebony skin and her very detailed hair style made her stand out among the rest. Her spirit was gentle and kind and she accompanied her sister to the compound because her mother was working. They have no father in the home and their older brother is twenty one. We asked if we could visit their home and they were delighted to show us the way. We did ask how far they were from the compound. From the story Judy Rand had told us about her trip to see her sponsored child we thought it would be wise to have an idea of how much time it would take. Judy’s interpreter said it wasn’t far but after walking three hours over the mountainous terrain, she thought she would have a heart attack. Then she had to walk three hours back to the compound. Plus, she did not know if she was in a safe environment.

The girls lead us down a narrow dirt path through a small neighborhood of houses that were put together with twigs, cement and patched roofs. There is no running water or electricity. There are windows with no glass and doors made of shower curtains. Little children ran around with no clothes on. We passed a toddler with a shirt on but no pants. He reminded me of my grandson, Hayden. I am sure he was being potty trained and there was no use to put underpants on him. Once in awhile I would get a whiff of fresh urine and be reminded of my grandparent’s outhouse on the farm.

Just as I was getting used to seeing people going nowhere and living in despair, we walked by a broken down hut where a woman was sitting in her chair reading a book as she watched the food cooking on the outdoor stove. A few houses later was a man listening to music as time passed by.
When we made it to Tamara and Johanne’s house we were greeted by several of their relatives. A man was holding what appeared to be an infant of no more than three months while several toddlers were watching us with anticipation. The father didn’t care if we took pictures and Diane went over and asked to hold the baby. It was so precious. When the American missionaries visit from Lifeline they bring gifts of food and clothing and more important to the children are toys.

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